Creating a website from scratch is a daunting task. Even if you hire a web designer, you’re still going to need to provide all of the content and make decisions about how it’s organized. Many small businesses have websites that offer great information, but it’s nearly impossible to find it buried deep under unnecessary clutter. The most important information on your site needs to be accessible within one click from the home page.

These five elements, when used in an authentic, effective manner, will give your potential customer confidence in who you are as a person and as a business. With these five elements working together, your website will be a powerful tool to provide you with a natural way to follow up and turn potential customers into loyal clients.

Here is a list of five must-haves for any small business website:

Engaging images

Photos catch people’s attention and are worth a thousand words – for better or worse. Good photos can evoke emotion and a response to your work that can cinch the deal with a potential customer. The pictures on your website should show what you do in a creative, engaging way. It’s best to avoid stock photos if possible, and may be worth the investment to hire a professional photographer.

Call to action

Your website should have a very clear next step that engages the customer. It’s great to give information, but if they leave the site without any contact, you have no way of following up. Don’t be afraid to use commanding language to get a response from the customer. Whether you want them to “Call Now,” “Sign Up for Our Newsletter,” or “Get a Quote” the call to action should stand out and be easy to complete. This is a great way to compile email addresses for your mailing list and connect with potential customers.

Clear description

Readers shouldn’t have to dig around several pages into your site to figure out exactly what it is you do. If they are looking for a specific product or service, they’ll want to know whether you can meet their need, without wasting a lot of time.  Stay ahead of the game by answering any obvious questions before they need to be asked – utilize an FAQ page or another clear place for communicating important information that may not be immediately obvious.

Personal touch

People love stories. If people can connect with you on a personal level, they are more likely to commit to buying a product or working with you because people want to work with real people. Every small business has a unique story behind it. Telling your story in a compelling way is key to generating loyal customers. The two most important things you can communicate in an “About Me” page are what makes your story unique and what makes you relatable.

Contact information

This should be an obvious one, but far too many small businesses don’t put their contact information or even a link to it on their home page. Customers shouldn’t be left scanning multiple pages to find it – and more than likely they won’t. Within one click of your homepage a customer should be able to at least find an email address and a contact form. Even better, include your business phone number, address, interactive directions and link to social media. If a way to get ahold of you isn’t easy and obvious, your website needs an update. There really is no excuse for losing a customer because your contact information wasn’t readily available.

If you are a small business working out of your home or garage, you may be hesitant to add your physical location to a public website. You may also not be comfortable bringing new clients into your home for a professional meeting. Huntsville Hub is the solution to both of these problems. Huntsville Hub offers a Virtual Office package that gives you use of their prestigious Huntsville business address, personalized call answering, mail collection and forwarding, ready-to-use offices and meeting rooms, and much more.

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